Taylor Swift told the truth in 2016, and the world let her down. We owe her an apology.
On a humid Sunday night in July 2016, Kim Kardashian shocked the world when she released clips of a recorded phone conversation on her Snapchat between Kanye West and Taylor Swift. The recording seemed to tilt public opinion in Kanye West’s favor and suggested that Taylor had signed off on the track “Famous,” which suggested that she owed Kanye West sex because he made her into the international pop superstar that she is.
The clips added up to a total of about 3 minutes of what was supposedly an hour-long conversation. We hadn’t heard everything, but the world had decided they’d heard enough. #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty began to trend on Twitter. Taylor’s social media mentions were flooded with snake and rat emojis. The public backlash was so loud and fierce, that Taylor disappeared from the public eye for a year. She had been canceled and labeled as a liar. Swiftly.
The “Famous” Feud
Last night someone clearly had reached their boredom threshold while being coronavirus quarantined because they released a 25-minute long video featuring the infamous phone conversation between Kanye and Taylor. In the footage, Kanye asks her if she’d be okay with him saying, “I feel like Taylor Swift might owe sex / I made her famous”. Taylor is audibly uncomfortable and does what a lot of girls do in a moment like that: we ask if we can think about it before making a decision because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying “no”.
But way back in February 2016, during an event at Madison Square Garden, Kanye rapped the verse where he mulls over the idea of having sex with Taylor Swift someday, after claiming he made her famous during that infamous moment on stage at the 2009 VMAs (despite her having sold over 7 million albums before the incident): “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b**** famous / G*d damn / made that b**** famous.”
At that time, sources had told celeb gossip outlet TMZ that Taylor had a heads up about the lyrics and had approved them. But Taylor immediately publicly denounced the lyrics through her publicist Tree Pain, who said, “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message.” She added, “Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that [expletive] famous’.”
Kanye responded himself, tweeting: “I did not diss Taylor Swift and I’ve never dissed her. First thing is I’m an artist and as an artist I will express how I feel with no censorship.” He pinned the idea for the sexually charged lyrics on Taylor and said they were “actually something Taylor came up with.”
In July 2016, after Kim posted the edited clips of the conversation, Taylor issued a response in a now-deleted Instagram post that said she had not approved of the song and that Kanye had never played her the final version before its release. “While I wanted to be supportive of Kanye on the phone call, you cannot ‘approve’ a song you haven’t heard. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009."
The feud was roaring between the two stars. For Swifties, it was war, and a chance to prove that Kanye West was just as selfish and disrespectful as he had been that night at the 2009 VMAs when he rushed the stage during her acceptance speech and ruined her big moment. For people who hated Taylor, they were willing to side with anyone just to spite her.
But according to the newly leaked footage, Taylor Swift has been vindicated.
But according to the newly leaked footage, Taylor Swift has been vindicated: not only did Taylor have no idea Kanye was going to use the “b” word, which is what she claimed in 2016, she also hadn’t explicitly given her blessing to the song, which, again, is contrary to the angle the media tried to paint four years ago. She never heard the finished song. Kim Kardashian released edited clips. The world hated Taylor for it.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
I’ve been a diehard Taylor Swift fan since her “Speak Now” album. I’ve seen her in concert five times and met her twice. I’ve never been afraid to respectfully challenge her when I’ve disagreed with her, but I remained loyal to her during the Kimye falling out of 2016 because something felt off. I’ve also grown to like Kim and Kanye more recently with their hyper-focus on faith and family.
Taylor Swift didn’t play the victim.
I’m still fans of both Taylor and the Wests, but I think for this situation, in particular, we should all come together once and for all and realize that Taylor Swift was right. She didn’t “play the victim,” and this situation should challenge us to reexamine other instances she brought to our attention that may have been dismissed due to the unfair victim narrative the media has slandered her with - like her falling out with her record label and the sexual harassment by a radio personality at a meet and greet.
I disagree with #BelieveAllWomen because it insinuates that just because of someone’s gender you automatically have to assume they’re telling the truth no matter what. Women lie too. I think when it comes to believing women we need to examine the facts and look for the corroboration of evidence on a case by case basis. In Taylor Swift’s case, the receipts show that she’s been telling the truth. So it’s time we start to believe her.